As the mother of daughters with long hair, I know the battle of the brush all too well. At certain times my daughters have had hair down to their waists, and their hair tends to be thick and wavy. To make matters more difficult, they are the most tender-headed children alive. How do we make it work? Only with a good detangling spray!
Homemade Detangling Spray for Hair (No Tears, No Fears)
As documented in the picture below and in my homemade natural shampoo post, my girls have had long, thick, wavy hair at various points over the years. (Some have even suggested I put hair extensions in their hair for these pictures. Nope, she was three!)
I’ve had to use detangling spray on my oldest daughter since she was a few months old. (She was born with about two inches of hair!) We’ve found a couple of special brushes that really help (especially this one and this one) but they still weren’t enough to convince my daughter not to be afraid of brushing her beautiful hair.
I never liked that most store-bought detangling sprays contain a lot of chemicals, especially since I would need to use it daily on my young kids. At least at the time I started tinkering with this recipe, there were very few natural store-bought alternatives, so I started making my own with just conditioner and water.
This simple combo works pretty well, but I later came across a post on Frugally Sustainable about how she uses marshmallow root in her homemade hair detangling spray. Conveniently, I already had marshmallow root on hand for making our homemade marshmallows. (This is my marshmallow root source.)
The new and improved formula transformed our daily routine. She loved the fresh but light scent and how soft it made her hair (not to mention how much pain it saved her), so she even started using it herself.
And I could save my energy for other more important battles!
What I Did
The recipe continued to evolve for a while as I tried different things from my arsenal of natural ingredients to find the best result. I tried chamomile (known to lighten hair) and nettle (known to help hair growth).
I always feel like it’s a win when I figure out how to make something at home from ingredients I already have and can cross one more thing off my shopping list. There are just 3 essential ingredients (and a few optional ones) in this recipe. Add to a spray bottle, shake, and you’re good to go.
What I Used
This recipe does require the addition of a healthy store-bought conditioner with mostly natural, safe ingredients. (I’ve listed a few that have worked for me below.) Thankfully, there are a lot of reputable companies now that avoid the parabens, preservatives, and heavy fragrances commonly found in store-bought beauty products.
To make this detangling spray, I use distilled water, marshmallow root, conditioner and optional essential oils. Any conditioner will work, but I prefer a natural one, especially for kids. Natural conditioner are more expensive, but with as little as you need for this recipe, one bottle lasts over a year for all three of my daughters.
The top natural brands that I’ve tried that smell good, work well, and don’t have harmful ingredients are:
- Shea Moisture Organic Restorative Conditioner (I love all of their products)
- Max Green Alchemy Scalp Rescue Conditioner (more earthy/tea tree scent but organic and works really well)
- Acure Organics Moroccan Argan Oil Conditioner (light and fresh scent)
I used a glass spray bottle I got during a Zulily sale, but I’ve also used this spray bottle from Amazon and the sprayer actually works better for this.
How It Worked
This detangling spray leaves hair shiny, clean, and smelling fresh. It doesn’t leave hair (even fine kids’ hair) weighed down or oily. In the picture above, I sprayed my daughter’s damp hair with the detangling spray after a shower and let it air dry.
Hair Detangling Spray Recipe
- 3 TBSP marshmallow root
- 1 1/2 cups distilled water
- 2 TBSP natural conditioner of choice (see above)
- 10+ drops of essential oil of choice (optional, see note below; adds scent and some benefits)
- 12 oz (or larger) spray bottle
- Boil water and marshmallow root in a small pan.
- Reduce heat and let simmer for 20-30 minutes.
- Let cool slightly and strain through a cheesecloth or very thin wire strainer.
- While still warm, pour into bottle and add conditioner and essential oils (if using).
- Shake until mixed.
- Store for up to 2 months (this is as long as I’ve tested).
Note: I really like these kid-safe essential oil blends when creating products for children, as it takes the guesswork out of safe essential oil use.
Do you use detangling spray? Ever made your own? Share below!